Bud Extends Reach Into High-End Liquor

Brewer Launches Superpremium Organic Vodka

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- The King of Beers says: This martini's for you. Bud parent Anheuser-Busch is launching its own superpremium organic vodka brand, Purus, continuing its recent trend of branching out beyond domestic beer.

A-B during the last two years has signed several extensive import agreements -- including a 20-year deal to import InBev brands such as Stella Artois and Beck's -- and also cut numerous deals to bring boutique spirits offerings in categories such as vodka and soju into its portfolio. Over the summer, it also filed trademark applications for cachaca ("Luzia") and pomegranate-and-acai flavored vodkas ("Pomacai").

Second spirit
Purus -- made from Italian wheat grown in the Piedmont region, which is best known for its expensive Barolo and Barbaresco wines -- is the second spirits brand developed by A-B's product development arm, Long Tail Libations, to hit the market. The first, Jekyll & Hyde, was a combination of raspberry and licorice-flavored liqueurs that launched in 2005. A-B executives, distributors and even a few bartenders who stock Jekyll & Hyde say sales have been scarce.

Selling for $35 a bottle, Purus will at first be marketed in "the Northeast's most exclusive high-end lounges, restaurants and specialty grocery and liquor stores," according to A-B's press release.

The teardrop-shape bottle also touts the brand's green credentials: The bottle is 100% recyclable and the "tree-free" label uses soy-based ink. A-B also says it will plant one tree for each of the first 100,000 registrants at Purus' website.
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